After a competition, you must start your recovery as soon as possible. This could include a drink or meal that contains carbohydrates, fluids and protein. The carbohydrates will replenish your reserves, the protein provides building blocks for your muscles and the fluid will compensate for the sweating. We distinguish two types of recovery food: a quick recovery snack and a recovery meal.
A recovery snack can be consumed within 30 minutes of training or a competition. For optimum energy and muscle recovery, they must contain a good combination of carbohydrates and quality proteins. This snack or recovery drink is used when you can’t eat a good recovery meal straight away. An ‘ideal’ composition for a recovery snack is 75% carbohydrates, 1/3 of which is sugar (primarily from fruit) and 20% protein. This blend can be found in chocolate milk, a smoothie made using milk and fruit, yoghurt and fruit, etc.
If you immediately sit down to eat after exercise, it is recommended that you eat a recovery meal. This will contain meat, fish or a meat replacement (protein) combined with pasta, rice, grains, potatoes or bread (carbohydrates) and vegetables. An optimum combination of carbohydrates, protein and fats. Protein is important for good muscle (tissue) recovery both after exercise and during the night-time recovery process. The proteins also help with cell and muscle creation. Fats are also an essential component of a healthy diet. Because they are hard to digest, you are advised not to consume them prior to training or a competition. A recovery meal after training or a competition is ideal for replenishing these reserves. The ‘ideal’ composition for a recovery meal is 50-55% carbohydrates with at least 10% of this in the form of sugar, 15-20% proteins and 20-30% fats.